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George Osborne sets out how the Government's Spending Review will be conducted

George Osborne headshot George Osborne has announced this afternoon announced the details of how the Government's Spending Review will be conducted. It will conclude in the autumn and set the spending limits for every Government department for 2011-12 through to 2014-15.

He has published a Spending Review Framework document which explains that the Review will:

  • Require departments to submit their initial plans to deliver their priorities before the Summer Recess and demonstrate that they meet a tough new set of criteria to deliver value for money. The criteria cover questions such as: is the activity being funded essential to the Government’s priorities, does the Government need to fund the activity, and can it be provided more efficiently?
  • Start a period of external engagement between the Government and all parts of society including; the private sector, the general public, voluntary/charitable organisations and experts, in order to obtain the best ideas from those most involved in and affected by public services.
  • Establish a new Star Chamber chaired by the Chancellor and Chief Secretary and drawing on the expertise of other senior Cabinet Ministers to ensure that the Government challenges every department’s spending plans to ensure that they deliver more for less. Other Cabinet Ministers will be considered to join the group, once they have settled their department’s budget.
  • Seek input from the brightest and best individuals in this SR by establishing a Spending Review Challenge Group of experts – both from within Government and outside – to act as independent challengers and champions for departments throughout the process. Their remit will be to think innovatively about the options for reducing public expenditure while balancing priorities.
  • Require each Secretary of State to appoint a Minister with specific responsibility for driving value for money across their department, identifying savings opportunities and playing an important role in challenging spending in all areas, including on contracts and programmes.
  • Comprehensively examine areas such as: social security, tax credits and public service pensions as part of the process.
  • End the previous administration’s complex system of Public Service Agreements that relied too heavily on rigid targets and instead ask departments to publish business plans that show the resources they need to put in place in order to protect key frontline services and deliver on their objectives.

You can download the full document and find more detail on the Treasury website.

Mr Osborne said:

"This is the great national challenge of our generation: after years of waste, debt and irresponsibility, to get Britain to live within its means. It is a time to rethink how government spends our money. We didn’t choose the terrible economic situation we inherited. But we can work to put it right, to deal with our debts, to set our country on a brighter economic course, and show that we are all in this together".

Jonathan Isaby


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